I have been putting in a great number of hours lately and daydreaming about my last getaway to Arizona. It’s time to start planning for the next trip so I can be forward thinking with anticipation! Remember that it’s not just the trip but the time we spend looking forward to the arrival of an event that makes life a grand journey.

How can you not have a great time when you are spending five days with two of the smartest and funniest ladies on both TV and in real life, Lynnda Shepherd and Toni Towe. Our trio could only have be improved by the addition of the lovely Shannon Watts, who stood us up – we will have to hear the story of her brother snubbing the bolt up his nose another time, another place.

Our 2011 venue of choice was The Sanctuary at Camelback in Carefree Arizona – where the mountains meet the dessert. Since we are bicoastal friends – San Diego and Fort Lauderdale – the location works and if the jaw dropping dessert scenery didn’t have us, the Spa at Camelback is ranked in the top ten in the world. Food Network’s Beau MacMillan runs the kitchen too. Ummmm, we were upgraded to a two bedroom casita since we were celebrating my book deal. Could it have gotten much better? Only if you add in cabana boys bringing us poolside Grapefruit Basil sugar free Martini’s, Hummus scooped with little red and yellow peppers, and some of the most wonderful new guy friends that one could want to meet in the pool (or that our husbands would want us to meet in the pool for that matter). I’d say we had it all wrapped up.

Life is about living NOW and not waiting for the stars to line up. We put off a lot of living while waiting – for the kids to get older, to lose 30 pounds, to get the new job, for next year… and in the blink of an eye ten years have passed and we are still waiting. Enjoy who you are and where you are now. You are good enough exactly where you are in life, with what you look like, and what you weigh… right now. No one looks back at life when they are 90 and is happy about the things they didn’t do.

This is why I so look forward to annual girlfriend trips and BE events that actually force me to take time to smell the roses. This was a spectacular trip and I am looking forward to this years few days of both laughing and sipping champagne til 2am on a patio in our nightgowns or drinking four pots of coffee still laughing on the same patio til noon – same nightgowns!

XII is the newly constructed million dollar private dining room with a view of the gleeming state of the art kitchen – once a month, XII invites fourteen, just kidding ya… twelve, very fortunate people to a tasting menu collaboration between Chef Beau Mac and a guest chef – this time it was Chef James Porter of Scottsdale’s Petite Maison. It was just our luck that we happened to be at the resort on the right day and that there was just enough room for us at the table. Six sublime courses, a different wine with each and three of us with gastric bypass surgery. The trick would be in tasting only a couple of bites of the early courses or at least knowing that we’d have to dump the last four courses in our purses. I didn’t do well with pouch management and could barely eat a single tiny bite (ugh, you know the feeling) of what was the most succulent roasted herb rack of lamb I had ever had in front of me.

The food was out of this world, ethereal, sweet, creamy, salty, bitter, sour, crisp, pungent, juicy, smooth, smoky, and every food adjective one could imagine. We laughed, we snarked, we toasted, we sang, we smiled, we flirted, we ate and we drank with IX of our new best foodie friends. A spectacular evening that I will always remember.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away. This particular evening was one of many moments that took my breath away during this great weekend having fun with friends that I don’t get to spend enough time with.

Ladies… do we do a repeat or come up with something new this year?


Yellowtail Crudo, yellow and red watermelon carpaccio, shaved radish, citrus olive oil drizzle, smoked salt, microgreens

Mussels, clams, shrimp, saffron cream, over poached halibut

Duck Confit, Foie Gras, Cippollini onion, blackberry kumquat balsamic sauce, brioche toasts

Colorado fresh herb crusted roasted rack of lamb, Tallegio polenta, red wine chanterelle demi glace

Brie stuffed French Toast, caramel tuille, fresh berry compote, berry reduction